For the lucky people who live or work in the Hutton Centre area of Santa Ana, you are within walking distance of Fresh Griller — a fast-casual eatery that offers a genuinely quick, fresh, healthy alternative for lunch or still-at-the-office dinners in MacArthur Plaza. For the rest of us, we must jump into our four-wheelers and try to find parking in the tiny parking lot that, thankfully, employs traffic facilitators to maintain order for ingress and egress (there is parking available in the adjacent structure).
Their posted Grill of Rights says it all:
* natural, fresh quality ingredients
* meals customized the way you like it
* food, packaging, and decor sourced responsibly
*served by a passionate team
*grillicious meals guaranteed
And it’s not BS. First of all, I was pleasantly surprised that Fresh Griller sources their chicken from Mary’s Free Range Chicken and uses Sterling Silver beef from North American Great Plains. Then there’s the natural pure cane sugar soft drinks (no high fructose corn syrup), selection of Teanzo gourmet loose-leaf iced teas, and the craft bottled beverages like Abita root beer from Louisiana.
Besides being fresh, fast, and deliciously healthy – Fresh Griller is affordable: whether you opt for a salad, a bowl, or a wrap – they are all just $6.00!! This is a lot of quality ingredients for $6.00 – judging from the Yelp reviews, they have a lot of fans that are fitness advocates who don’t mind driving for an inexpensive meal that’s good for your mind and body.
It’s also simple with only a few decisions to make: do you want a salad, bowl, or a wrap? Then, get Sizzled: grilled chicken, steak, or veggie? Stuffed: fresh cut kale or romaine? Brown or white rice? Mediterranean beans, Thai kale slaw, squash blend, pepper & onion medley, and/or ginger Pico de Gallo? Finally get Sauced: this is the tough one: Aji Verde, sweet ginger chile, barbecue, teriyaki, wasabi ranch, balsamic, or a spicy red pepper which has yet to be named. Our group was offered a tasting sampler of each one and I favored the Aji Verde and the unnamed spicy red pepper. The wasabi ranch was also good, and I don’t normally like common ranch, but the kick of wasabi makes this one better.
The clean aesthetic of the restaurant and the process of ordering is similar to Chipotle, but the similarities end there. Fresh Griller does not have to worry being the home of a 1,000 calorie burrito on their menu – fyi, their wrap is made from brick-oven baked lahvash. I ordered the salad with chicken, pico de gallo, and the squash medley. The chicken was lean and flavorful and the vegetables brightly colored, fresh – not frozen, and not overcooked. Yay! Others ordered the bowl and wrap so we could see and taste an example of each. I’m going back for the wrap with beef because my friend said the beef was moist, tender, and seasoned well.
I haven’t mentioned the staff – all the servers are super friendly, helpful, and are genuinely happy that you’re there. And, if you like to cap things off with just a little sweetness or get low blood sugar in the afternoons and crave a snack, pick up one of their “Fruit of the Gods” yogurt parfaits before you pay.
2 Hutton Centre Drive
Santa Ana, CA
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.